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The Top 7… shameless rip-offs

5. Dead Space

Ripped off: Resident Evil 4

The photocopied premise: A gun-toting protagonist shoots loads of corpse-harvesting monsters in a hostile environment.

What it borrowed: While the setting is radically different, there’s no question Dead Space wouldn’t exist if Resi 4 hadn’t reinvigorated the survival horror genre with its action-heavy reinvention. The over-the-shoulder aiming, copious backtracking, documents lying around waiting to be read, the screen-filling bosses; all inspired by Capcom’s masterpiece.

Trying to write a preview for the game before its release without using the phrase ‘Resi 4 in space’ was as difficult as trying to solve advanced algebra while juggling used needles. The game’s most persistent baddy was also clearly based on Resi’s Regenerators. Killing these pesky foes, who can grow back their limbs, arguably spawned the whole idea for Dead Space’s Strategic Dismemberment, too.

How to make a Resi 4 knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

While tiresome EA buzz word-sponsored mechanics like ‘Zero Gravity’ and the previously mentioned dismemberment system reeked of gimmickry, they actually helped Dead Space distance itself from Resi. More than that, these elements meant the game managed to best the tired Resi 5. Thanks to a gripping atmosphere of isolation and quiet dread, or really loud dread when you’re getting your spleen sucked out by an alien, EA’s title was one of the best games of 2008.


4. Konami Krazy Racers

Ripped off: Mario Kart series

The photocopied premise: A bunch of corporately compatible characters race around sugary sweet cartoon worlds in ludicrously undersized go-karts.

What it borrowed: Unless it had a big ‘Property of Mr. Nintendo’ sticker on it, there’s almost nothing Konami didn’t pilfer from the Mario Kart games. Eight cutesy racers using a variety of comedy power ups – including speed boosts and lightning – to win karting GPs, (semi) beloved gaming icons, the track design; the list goes on and on.

In fairness, Krazy Racers was actually a GBA launch game, so arrived on the system before the acclaimed Mario Kart: Super Circuit. Still, there’s no denying Konami didn’t so much take inspiration from Nintendo’s money-making blueprint, rather, they carefully scanned it, reproduced it and then charged you 50 bucks for the tiny cart.

How to make a Mario Kart knock-off

Is it really just a rip-off?

Hells yes. But it was a good rip-off. While it may not have added anything to the existing Mario Kart formula, it succeeded in being one of the first convincing racing games on a handheld. It was arguably the GBA’s most technically impressive title at launch. And the impact of playing its quasi 3D racing for the first time left a longer lasting impression than anything in Super Circuit.


3. The Simpsons Road Rage

Ripped off: Crazy Taxi

The photocopied premise: Drive around a city in a series of wacky taxis, picking up passengers for fares while battling a tight time limit.

What it borrowed: The entire concept of Sega’s addictive arcade racer, executed in almost exactly the same fashion. Sure, it added a tacked-on plot about Mr. Burns taking over Springfield’s transport system with nuclear-powered buses, in an attempt to justify why Krusty would be ferrying the Sea Captain to Barney’s Barney's Bowl-A-Rama. But this was still about as blatant a rip-off as a motivated copyright lawyer could hope to find.

And find it Sega’s lawyers did. In 2003 the Japanese giant filed a lawsuit against Fox Interactive and EA for infringing on their patent. In an effort to spare their blushes and wallets, Fox Interactive settled the dispute out of court.

How to make a Crazy Taxi knock-off:

Is it really just a rip-off?

That would be a yes. While we’ll never say no to helping a distraught ol' Gil get to work in record time, Road Rage is a crass, poorly-executed pretender to Crazy Taxi’s throne. The addition of story missions that were horribly crow-barred in added nothing to the game and further diluted the purity of Sega’s beloved racer.

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71 comments

  • holic237 - April 27, 2012 2:29 a.m.

    Dead Space always reminded me of Bioshock in space ...
  • miasma - March 12, 2010 12:18 a.m.

    Robopon lol. Terrible
  • gilgamesh310 - February 7, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    Syphon filter should definately not be on this list. The game plays drastically different to metal gear solid even if it does share some similarities.SF has a lot less emphasis on stealth and more on balls out action.I enjoyed it much more at the time although I now respect that metal gear solid did more for the medium.
  • CRUSHALL - December 17, 2009 10:48 p.m.

    So what about the original Super Mario 2... Its the exact same as a game called Doki Doki Panic... Dave and Josh want to know why this isnt the number 1 ripoff!
  • Spritle101 - November 23, 2009 5:26 a.m.

    There is absolutely no such thing as originality.
  • brickman409 - October 18, 2009 9:32 p.m.

    simpsons road rage, good times hit and run was better though
  • brickman409 - October 18, 2009 9:31 p.m.

    simpsons road rage, good times hit and run was better though
  • PivotPlurals1 - September 27, 2009 5:09 p.m.

    @CarbonFire Yes there was a Pokemon Green But it was Horrid.
  • InstantThreat - September 10, 2009 4:42 a.m.

    i should make a cheap rip off of gears of war and sell it for $59.95 ;D thats how money is made
  • aatinko - September 6, 2009 1:09 p.m.

    OMGosh dude, you hit that nail square on the head! RT http://www.anon-tools.vze.com
  • reaperman22 - September 6, 2009 2:03 a.m.

    banjo was more fun i reckon but you could add a lot more games to this blist especially for the mario cart one. just cause they change the characters and level textures doesnt make it any different
  • nightwalker62 - September 2, 2009 11:47 a.m.

    dead space was a RIVAL not a rip off
  • Tymiegie - September 1, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    I have only played Dead Space and The Simpson's Road Rage. I loved Dead Space and I actually thought Simpson's was pretty good. Although I wasn't very critical of games back then since I played them casually so that is probably why I liked it. That and it was the Simpsons
  • linkganon - September 1, 2009 10:58 p.m.

    i remember a part when snake says to send the guy from syphon filter or the guy from splinter cell in instead of him for a mission anyone can do, probabally implying they are worthless.
  • coolbeans - September 1, 2009 3:12 p.m.

    Pokémon came out in red blue and green then yellow came out with Pikachu following you around
  • doomdude - September 1, 2009 12:11 p.m.

    dude totally true about the pokemon ripoff and the mario kart one
  • Spybreak8 - September 1, 2009 6:54 a.m.

    Ahaha, Robopon, never heard of it!? Gotta love the mario kart like game, crazy wacky characters with lightning bolts lol. Captcha: "baptize mother" nice
  • Cwf2008 - September 1, 2009 4:46 a.m.

    "A massive, resounding fifty foot yes perched atop the Empire State Building swatting down Pikachu-piloted biplanes." Made me lol. Great article, but theres gotta be a reason none of us heard of Robopon...hmm...
  • Schmegeggi - September 1, 2009 3:48 a.m.

    I'm sorry, but Dead Space is a note for note rip-off of System Shock 2. That may be a bit old for your readers but far more accurate.
  • SausageLozenge - September 1, 2009 12:40 a.m.

    One thing that Syphon Filter had that MGS didn't was a taser. I loved tasering scientists until they caught on fire.

Showing 1-20 of 71 comments

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